How to Become a Textile Chemist

How to Become a Textile Chemist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a textile chemist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. Does the following description sound like you? If yes, then you’re probably well suited for a career in textile chemistry:


Those who become textile chemists are typically individuals who have the intellectual and emotional capacity to gain the specialized knowledge necessary to succeed in this career.


A career as a textile chemist is more enjoyable for those that have a natural interest in chemistry, and an interest in the modification and improvement of basic polymers. It is also an enjoyable career for those who enjoy using specialized scientific knowledge to solve problems.


If you want to become a textile chemist, you must be comfortable working in a laboratory setting, and you should be comfortable working within multidisciplinary teams, and sharing your opinions and findings with the members of that team.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a textile chemist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Textile Chemist

An undergraduate degree in chemistry or chemical engineering can offer a solid foundation for becoming a textile chemist. An undergraduate degree in one of these areas is also typically the minimum requirement to get an entry-level job in textile chemistry.


Regardless of the educational route you choose, it is important to pursue coursework and develop a knowledge base in areas such as analytical chemistry, polymer chemistry, organic chemistry and colloid chemistry, as these are fundamental areas of textile chemistry.


If you want to become a textile chemist that completes your own research projects or directs others in applied research, you will likely need a master’s degree in chemistry or a closely related field such as polymer chemistry or chemical engineering. Some employers may require you to have a Ph.D. in order to be hired as a textile chemist.


As textile chemists can also work outside of a laboratory, pursuing education in other areas in compliment to your chemistry education can also prove valuable if you want to become a textile chemist with diversified career options.


For example, having an educational background in marketing can be of great use if you wish to work in technical sales or marketing for a company that, for example, manufactures or distributes chemicals used in textile production. 




Textile Chemist Job Description

Textile chemists are highly specialized chemists who apply the basic principles of chemistry to the understanding of textile materials, for the purpose of functionally and aesthetically modifying them into useful and desirable items. These items may include clothing, carpet, tire yarn, sewing thread, upholstery, and air bags, and others. Textile chemists also apply knowledge of surface chemistry to cleaning processes and modifications, such as dyeing and finishing.


Textile chemists must not only have an in-depth understanding of the structure and properties of natural and synthetic fibers, they must also be experts in post-treatment chemistries, which impart properties such as dyeability, wash freshness, and permanent press, as well as be knowledgeable in areas such as recyclable certain materials are, and how fibers degrade over time.



Textile Chemist Job Duties

• Use chromatography or spectroscopy techniques to analyze inorganic compounds in order to determine their chemical and physical properties

• Write technical papers or reports, or prepare standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, or tests

• Maintain laboratory equipment, and troubleshoot problems as they arise

• Plan and conduct quality control tests

• Liaise with scientists and engineers from various fields in order to analyze and interpret test results

• Use test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency to diagnose malfunctions



Who Hires Textile Chemists?

Textile chemists can find jobs with organizations involved in applying the principles of chemistry to the understanding of textile materials, and to their functional and aesthetic modification into useful and desirable items. They may also be hired in government and academia; in research, teaching, regulatory and policy related roles.


Organizations that hire Textile Chemists include:


• Companies that manufacture the basic polymer from which synthetic fibers are made

• Dyeing houses that colour carpets, yarns, fabric and fiber

• Colleges and universities

• Government agencies and departments





Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Textile Chemist

In order to become successful in a career as a textile chemist, you need to possess a certain set of skills and personality traits, as executing many of your job functions competently won’t be possible without them.


• A natural interest in polymer chemistry

• Enjoy the modification and improvement of basic polymers

• Enjoy using specialized knowledge of materials to solve problems

• Expert knowledge in polymer chemistry, organic chemistry and colloid chemistry

• Familiarity with chemical engineering principles

• An understanding of the manufacturing process

• A willingness to travel

• Enjoy working in multidisciplinary teams

• Able to apply the principles of surface chemistry to various processes, such as dyeing and finishing

• Able to conceptualize polymer modifications

• Use specialized instrumentation, such as an Instron

• An understanding of the complex chemistry surrounding the degradation of materials in order to find ways to inhibit its occurrence


Textile Chemist Salary

The salary level of textile chemists can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Textile Chemist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Chemists occupational group earn an average of between $28.03 and $45.00 per hour.


Textile Chemist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of workers in the Chemists occupational group is $63,190 per year.


Textile Chemist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Chemists and Materials Scientists occupational group is $69,790 per year.


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Careers Similar to Textile Chemist

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Textile Chemist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Chemical Analyst


Fabric Designer

Materials Scientist

Pulp and Paper Chemist



References: How to Become a Textile Chemist

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Textile Chemist.



Occupations in Alberta:Chemist.” (March 5, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Chemists and Materials Scientists.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

Job Descriptions:Materials Science.” (n.d.). American Chemical Society website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Textile Chemist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Textile Chemist can be found on our Chemistry Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Textile Chemist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Textile Chemist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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